The COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology is called "Спутник V". Per the English-language Wikipedia page, the "V" is the letter "V", not the Roman numeral five. Apparently, even the original cyrillic spelling is "Спутник V", although "V" is not a letter of the cyrillic alphabet. I would rather have expected "Спутник В" (capital "в" for "вакцина").

Why was a non-cyrillic letter used even in the original cyrillic name of the vaccine? Was this exclusively driven by marketing, for fear of the rest of the world mistaking a "в" for a (roman) "B"?

Is there a general rule in Russian about using Cyrillic or Latin letters for one letter brand or class names?

  • 1
    This is the name of the brand, you are basically asking why it was branded that way and not another - it's not a question about Russian language though and won't help other Russian language learners. That said, unfortunately I had to close this question as off-topic. Don't get me wrong, it's a valid question - it's just that it doesn't fit.
    – shabunc
    Mar 20, 2021 at 11:31
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    @shabunc: OK, thank you for your explanation - much nicer than just seeing one's question closed :) Mar 20, 2021 at 12:22
  • I do not know the answer to your question, but I know the Russian terms 'гепатит A' (hepatitis A), 'гепатит B' (not 'гепатит Б'), 'гепатит C' . I just read an article about 'Sputnik V' in the Russian Wikipedia. This article uses the terms 'S-белок' (S-protein) and 'N-белок'. For the Russian medical terminology, I think, is a common practice: a combination of a Russian word in Cyrillic and a Latin letter.
    – Elena
    Mar 20, 2021 at 15:36
  • Hi and welcome to Russian.SE! It looks like you are assuming that Russian brand and class names should only be using Cyrillic. I've put this assumption into a question on your behalf, if that's ok, which makes the question on topic.
    – Quassnoi
    Mar 20, 2021 at 16:10
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    According to this article cited in the Russian version of the Wikipedia article a spokesman for the manufacturer stated on Twitter that the V is victory over COVID-19: tass.ru/obschestvo/10348709
    – David42
    Mar 22, 2021 at 2:46

2 Answers 2


This "V" means "Victory".

"The letter "V", which is contained in the name of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, means victory. This was announced on Thursday by the сhief of the Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev in the account of this medication manufacturers on Twitter. ... " https://tass.ru/obschestvo/10348709

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    this is something that Kirill Dmitriev told on a conference and actually can be anecdotal - he is not the creator of vaccine and to my knowledge (pretty limited though) had nothing to do with this branding.
    – shabunc
    Apr 11, 2021 at 11:02

May be it symbolizes victory. In Russian "s Putinim" means "with Putin", so the whole name may mean "victory with Putin". Also, notice that Putin has the two other his initials V.V. So, it can be read "s Putinim V." (with Putin V.)

  • That is interesting. Do you have any information to back this up? Per the English-language Wikipedia, the "V" is indeed the letter "V", not the numeral for "five", and the source given is an English-language YouTube video purportedly created by the company that created the vaccine. Also see David42's comment. Apr 1, 2021 at 10:25
  • @StephanKolassa Also, notice that Putin has the two other his initials V.V. So, it can be read "s Putinim V." (with Putin V.)
    – Anixx
    Apr 1, 2021 at 10:28
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    @StephanKolassa: this post is either an April fools' day joke or a genuine crazy nonsense. I'm inclined to believe the former.
    – Quassnoi
    Apr 1, 2021 at 12:05
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    @Anixx I'm not sure what happened with you recently but can not help but notice that your recent answers are quite often down-voted for a reason.
    – shabunc
    Apr 2, 2021 at 9:58
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    While my first reaction also was to downvote this, on the afterthought - Wikipedia has a link for an explanation why it is letter V rather than Roman numeral V; the link leads to a Youtube link with a clear specimen of a махровая Kremlin propaganda which opens with "The world is craving for VICTORY OVER COVID-19". Which, I think, indeed indicates that it might be designed to work on the subconscious level to link Victory with Vladimir and Sputnik with Putin or whatever Apr 8, 2021 at 8:59

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